Nearly one in five high school boys has been identified as having ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder), and two-thirds of children with a current ADHD diagnosis are receiving prescription stimulant drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall — yet a recent Kaiser analysis of 850,000 children ages 5-12 in 2010 had only 3.1 percent meeting ADHD criteria when a medical specialist made the diagnosis, Lawrence Diller, M.D., writes in a recent blog post on Huffington Post.
Diller is a behavioral pediatrician with a practice in Walnut Creek and the author of Running on Ritalin and, most recently, Remembering Ritalin: A Physician and Generation Rx Reflect on Life and Psychiatric Drugs.
For years, he has called for caution in the use of legal drugs to treat behavioral problems and school performance issues. Yet recent reports from high schools and colleges "raise the specter ... of a growing doctor-prescribed Adderall misuse and abuse epidemic," he writes.
While parents prefer that non-drug strategies be tried first, "schools, insurance and drug companies prioritize efficiency," Diller says.
Adding to the problem, he writes, is the current trend where "older teens and college students are attracted to the 'quick fix' nature of the prescription amphetamine drugs for cramming (and getting high)."
You may read Diller's complete blog post here.